Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Seattle I

I flew out to Seattle a week ago Thursday, arrived without incident. Got to meet the team, got started working, and poof!, it was Friday evening.

And I was faced, for the first time in recent memory, with a weekend without obligations or plans. What to do, what to do?

Well, I liked the Chihuly glass exhibit I'd seen when I was in the area some fifteen years ago, so I decided to start there. I got up early (early is easier when my body clock is set two hours earlier than local time...) and headed to downtown Seattle. Turns out most of the tourist types wait until after nine to get going in the morning, so I was able to snag an on-street parking spot within a few blocks of the space needle. I got me some coffee, enjoyed people watching for a bit, then sauntered over to the exhibit and forked over the $23 entrance fee.

Without anyone to push me along, I spent the next two-and-a-bit hours thoroughly enjoying the play of light and glass. My biggest regret was not having my good camera along. The phone camera is good, but it just doesn't capture light the way a good lens can.

There was a hot yoga studio near the hotel, so I stopped in for their evening relaxation class as a way to wind down my day.

Sunday, I was up bright and early again. The hotel was dingy and run-down - not a place to spend any more time than absolutely necessary, so I decided to see what the local hiking options were. To my surprise, there were any number of good trails within thirty minutes of the hotel. I picked one, more-or-less at random, and set out to see what I could see.

I followed the road on up past the gravel fork and within a few yards of setting off down the trail found myself alone in a forest wonderland. Tall trees, lush green ferns - once I decided to pretend the roar of cars from the nearby freeway was really the sound of the ocean, I had no trouble slowing down, breathing, and just enjoying some time away from my normal life. The sky was blue, the temps on the warm side of cool. The trail was well-groomed, which made for an easy four mile hike. When I got back to the trailhead, I was glad I'd gotten there early - the parking spaces were all taken. (not surprising given the beauty of the trail and its proximity to a major population center...)

I found some good salads for dinner at a local grocery, then settled down in my room to enjoy some time with a good book to round out the day.

I'm not real practiced at this relaxing stuff, but thought I did well for an amateur!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Heigh Ho...

Heigh ho, heigh ho, it's off to....  Seattle, I go.

This job I landed has been a bit disorganized from the start, and it hasn't changed much.

The work I was originally doing for AuroraView for Ericsson for Sprint tapered off a couple of weeks ago. Since the volume of work had declined beyond their initial projections, my team was no longer needed on the project.

I've spent the last couple of weeks twiddling my fingers, checking in regularly on my computer for any messages, getting caught up on my web reading. Last week, they called to talk about a new contract position within Ericsson, this time for T-Mobile. There was just one catch - if I wanted the job, I'd have to travel to Seattle a lot, at least half of the time, at least initially. While that's more travel than I care to do, I figured I shouldn't let my reluctance to leave home stand between me and a perfectly good paycheck, so I said I thought the job sounded doable for me. I didn't hear anything more until yesterday when I got a call saying I'd been approved for the job, and would I please come to Seattle - today.

I told them that was a little too fast for me, and we agreed I could fly out tomorrow. (I'll be able to come back next Friday.)

Since then, I've been working to get back in touch with my inner twenty-four-year-old. I remember how excited I was to take my first business trip, to Cincinnati, OH. I hadn't seen much of the country, hadn't flown but once, hadn't stayed in nice hotels - it was all new and exciting to me.

I was nervous underneath, but strove to present an oh-so-sophisticated air. I checked and double checked my packing. I checked and double-checked my ticket and boarding passes. I got to the airport in plenty of time, boarded without trouble, and let loose a huge sigh of relief. So far, so good.  The flight was smooth, and we landed on time without difficulty. Feeling oh-so-pleased it had gone well, I got off the plane to be greeted with a sign stating "Welcome to Kentucky!"

"Wait! Kentucky? How did I get to Kentucky? I was going to Ohio, not Kentucky!"

I swallowed my fears and, keeping my sophisticated pose intact, continued down the terminal walkway, looking for a good place to quietly figure out where I'd gone wrong. As I walked and continued to look at the signs around me, I realized that I was just fine. If I'd wanted to avoid panic, all I'd needed to do was to look a little more closely at a map before boarding. Cincinnati is a border city, and the airport is across the state line - in Kentucky.  **whew!**

Many business trips, airports, and hotels later, the thrill of traveling has long passed. (unless, of course, I'm going somewhere I WANT to go.) I've been SO looking forward to spring this year, so I could finally finish my remodeling project. Spring got here this week, and now I need to leave town. ** major sigh **

But this assignment won't last forever, and while the trips will span some weekends, that means I'll have a little time to explore the Seattle area during its beautiful season. They're right on the ocean, and I like seafood. Rumor has it that a decent cup of coffee is readily available in the town. I'll have evenings free to work on taking care of me - no projects calling to distract me from exercise.

Joe will take care of the house and yard and cats, so I can cross those things off my worry list.

I've been able to get in touch with my inner two-year-old these past few years without trouble. It's time to branch out and find that earnest, excited young professional - ready to learn and to work and to do the best job she can do. I know she's in there somewhere!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

When I'm Big

When I was in second grade, my oldest brother was in sixth. I forget why, but one day he'd forgotten his lunch, and I had it. When I went to give it to my teacher, she asked me if I knew where his classroom was, and when I nodded yes, told me to go ahead and bring it to him.

The elementary school we were at that year was long and low, with just two main corridors. My room was near the end of one, his all the way at the far end of the other. I wasn't scared to go down the big kids hallway. It was a rare treat to walk alone down the long passage, the sounds of learning coming out of each room I passed.

When I got to his room, I timidly knocked on the door. The teacher came and took his lunch from me; as the door opened I got a good look at all those big desks and the HUGE kids that occupied them. I knew, somewhere in my mind, that one day I'd be as big as those kids, but I knew it would take me a LONG TIME to get there.

They were so grown-up and smart and tall. Could it really be that I'd grow and one day be one of them?  Surely, when that day arrived, I'd know all I needed to know to be big!

When I got there, four years and two more schools later, I didn't feel so big. I was a misfit in the Catholic school I'd landed in for fifth and sixth grades; instead of growing, my days were spent trying to hide. To not call any attention to myself. To shrink away to invisibility.

Still, somewhere inside was the vision formed of myself on that long-ago walk down a hallway. It took many years for it to resurface, but when I left home for college, it came to the fore. I still didn't have the perceived self-confidence and grace of those grown-up sixth graders, but I could fake it. I was going to a school where I didn't know a soul. They didn't know I was an unacceptable outcast, and I sure as heck wasn't going to tell them. I faked it until, magically, the outside began to resemble the interior image.

Sometimes, oftentimes, growth can be painful. This time was an exception - the part of me I'd hidden away during my bullied years peeked cautiously around the corner of the hallway, and then walked, curious and eager to grow, down the middle of the hall to where the big kids studied and learned and grew.

One day I woke up and was grown-up and smart and tall. I'd made it - I'd learned all I needed to know to be big!